food-news

Is the fast-food bread you're eating dangerous?

Sep. 26, 2013 at 3:56 PM ET

toxic ingredient in fast food bread
James Baigrie/Getty Images /
toxic ingredient in fast food bread

There's something fishy about an ingredient in the bread served at many fast-food chains in the U.S. It's called Azodicarbonamide, and it's in Subway loaves, Starbucks croissants, and other fast-food breads many of us eat daily or weekly—but it's banned in countries worldwide. U.K. officials say it causes asthma; Singapore fines nearly a half million dollars for using it. In the U.S.? It's perfectly legal.

The substance has stirred up controversy before, and it's once again generating attention—not to mention questions about why we're still being fed this stuff, and why the Food and Drug Administration hasn't banned it. Food Babe is running a story and video about the issue this week:

FoodBabe reports that the FDA allows food companies to use the stuff to bleach flour and condition dough; the agency gives the substance the rating of "generally regarded as safe." But consider this: When a truck carrying the stuff overturned in Chicago, the highest hazardous materials alert was issued, and people within a half mile were evacuated. Many complained of symptoms like irritated skin and burning eyes. The FDA has insisted that it takes the necessary protections to guard the U.S. food supply -- but we're left wondering who else the agency may be guarding (food companies with well-paid lobbyists, perhaps?)

Yes, there has been some fear-mongering when it comes to certain food scares—along with often-confusing rebuttals and counter-rebuttals. Sometimes the claims are overblown, and sometimes the substance in question is kinda icky but not actually dangerous at all. So, we're wondering, how'll you react to this controversy.

Let us know what you think: Will you avoid fast-food breads, or call on the FDA to ban Azodicarbonamide and other substances of its ilk—or just shrug off the news and carry on?

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.

TOP